Learners aren’t always called learners any more. They are called consumers or customers. Why? Because there has been a shift away from the one size fits all approach towards a personalised approach to learning. This name change reflects that move. It also helps L&D to adjust to the right mindset, one of providing personalised learning interventions and options that customers want.
Digital is, of course, driving this shift towards more personalised learning. In our latest research report, ‘The insight edge in learning: how data can transform learning to deliver future skills', we assess the relationship between data, digital learning and personalised learning.
One of the report’s key findings is that almost a third of employees (31%) think their employer could provide more tailored learning through better use of data and insight. An even larger number (43%) believe their employer could make better use of data to provide more personalised experiences.
What these findings tell us is that L&D needs to do more to provide personalised, data-driven learning. Employees know this is an option and they want it.
Providing the right learning in the right way
Research from Towards Maturity of more than 10,000 workers supports our findings. It shows that most employees are time poor and when they need the right resources at their point of need they can’t find them. The good news is that employees want to learn at their own pace, at their point of need and are excited by using technology.
By making better use of data and insight, L&D can create highly personalised, effective development paths for employees. And they won’t be set in stone – those career paths can change and be adapted as the need arises. The aim needs to be to design and deliver personalised learning experiences that are relevant, dynamic and engaging at every stage of the employee life cycle.
Taking inspiration from marketing
This comes back to the idea of learners as consumers, as customers. L&D can learn a lot from marketing, in terms of using digital to provide a tailored, targeted experience for customers. Marketing teams are traditionally very customer focused, just as L&D teams now need to be. But there’s more to it than that. They also have a strong commercial focus and are primed to meet rising customer expectations through technology and the smart use of data. Marketing has moved quickly to embrace digital and give customers what they want, so L&D needs to explore what marketing teams do, how and why, and take inspiration from them.
Marketing teams segment their audience, informed by the insights data has given them. How can L&D follow suit? For example, people in these types of jobs want this kind of help to progress and develop their skills. By making smart use of data L&D can tailor programmes and get to the heart of what both employees and businesses need.
Learning and development must overhaul its current strategy and become a commercial operation of its business. Through data and insight L&D has the ability to mirror brands, treating employees as key consumers and delivering the personalised experience they now expect from their employer.